Uncovering our own authentic power
What the early feminists succeeded so adroitly in doing was to challenge the archetypes and roles which women had been forced into for generations. However, they largely found their own power by copying men – focusing on achieving things, becoming more competitive and assertive, and identifying with their rational minds.
I feel that the task for women now is to uncover our authentic feminine power.
The problem is that we don’t really know what it is. What is the divine feminine? What does authentic feminine power look like? And if we’re not going to be superwoman – juggling six different roles – which of those roles are we going to drop? What do we truly want?
In the 2006 edition of the Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer wrote: ‘the cage is open but the canary has not flown’. What I think she means by this is that externally the world has changed, affording woman opportunities unimaginable a few decades earlier, but women are still holding ourselves back. We are not shining as brightly as we could.
I believe that the reason for this is that although external circumstances have changed dramatically – at least in the west – the conditioning inside our heads is slower to evolve. On a conscious level we may believe one thing, but at a deeper unconscious level, we are still bound by many of the crippling beliefs held by our mothers and our mothers’ mothers.
Take the belief ‘I have to put other’s needs before my own’. That’s what our foremothers were conditioned to believe. Most conscious women nowadays no longer buy into it – we now believe that we have a right to balance our own needs with those of others and sometimes to put our own needs first.
But this is what we believe at a conscious level. At an unconscious level, the pernicious beliefs that our mothers’ held are still alive and kicking. At an unconscious level, we mostly still believe that our needs are not as important as those of other people.
The unconscious is hundreds of times more powerful than the conscious mind, and so when we act in ways that contravene it we inevitably sabotage ourselves.
How this shows up is that when we start to act in ways that honour our own needs, something will happen that prevents us from doing so: we’ll suddenly get a big bill or someone will get ill, we’ll get into a relationship which demands most of our attention… Something will happen to sabotage us, and it will look like it’s completely unrelated…
But it isn’t unrelated: it’s us that has manifested the situation to prevent us from stepping out of our comfort zone – to prevent us from behaving in ways that contravene our deepest beliefs.
Until we clear a sufficient amount of the unconscious conditioning that still lives on pretty much universally we will inevitably trip ourselves up when we try to move forward in our lives.
So how do we even know what our unconscious beliefs are, let alone try to change them? Well, many of them are universal. We often think that our problems are personal but they’re not. In my workshops I find that the same core beliefs resonate for pretty much everyone. You’re not alone!
The kind of beliefs I’m talking about include: I’ll never get what I want, it’s not safe to be powerful or say what I really think, pleasure is indulgent, I have to bury my needs, it’s not safe to express my emotions, my body isn’t good enough…
I first started looking at my own limiting beliefs over 20 years ago, and I had pages and pages of them. I had so many back then that I was utterly crippled in my life. I tried various different systems to try and change them – challenging my beliefs intellectually, shamanic work, affirmations, different types of therapy and spiritual paths. But really nothing worked until I learned how to use EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – to dissolve them.
EFT is like acupuncture – only you tap on specific points on the body instead of using needles. As you tap and verbalise a belief, you release the energy in the body which holds the belief in place, and it literally crumbles. One moment you are in the grip of some life-sapping belief – so strong that it literally is your reality. And the next it just seems like load of nonsense, and you cannot imagine how you believed it in the first place. It is truly miraculous.
I have done this process on myself and clients thousands upon thousands of times. Last week for example I was working on one of my own worst core beliefs: ‘no one wants me around’. Some people I was going to stay with had triggered a layer of this belief that I hadn’t yet cleared.
I was tapping away early in the morning when suddenly the belief fell away. All the energy was released and it no longer felt true at all. Normally I religiously switch off my mobile at night, but synchronistically I had left it on by mistake. Within minutes of clearing the belief, my phone suddenly beeped, and a text arrived from the woman I’m going to stay with – a friendly welcoming message!
As you change your internal beliefs, the world around you instantly and automatically changes.
On my workshops I give people lists of the most common beliefs which are pretty much universally held, so participants can gradually work through the ones that resonate the most.
Once you clear a certain amount of old conditioning, you uncover more of your essence – who you truly are. You feel more connected with yourself and the world, and you feel more embodied, sensual and alive. The more you live in your body, the more you are in touch with your intuition – you start to know what you authentically want in your life and where to focus your energy.
This is authentic power. The word power comes from the latin – ‘to be able’. Power is not about controlling other people – it’s about being able to do what you want, which is far more possible once you no longer have internal voices telling you that you’re not good enough and you can’t possibly have what you want.
Feminine power comes from living deeply in our bodies, knowing what it is that we want and having the capacity to move towards it. As we do so we access our creativity and start to live it…
And this is where true alchemy starts to happen. As you follow the calling of your soul – your highest vision for yourself – obstacles will inevitably show up. But these obstacles are your ticket to even more power, because they show you where there is still conditioning to be cleared. Once you dissolve whatever has been triggered, your path will open up again.
In the example cited above, of working on the belief that ‘no one wants me around’, I got triggered after taking a step towards my dreams – I booked a two-month retreat in Hawaii. After clearing the belief, not only did my external reality change – a nice welcoming text arrived – but I felt happier in myself. As old beliefs fall away, a deeper truth emerges. In this case, along the lines of, ‘but of course I am welcome in the world – why wouldn’t I be?’
I use the word alchemy about this work because as you move in your soul’s direction towards your dreams, you will transform. Life is an alchemical journey – fairy tales are not about spending your life acquiring financial security… they are always about going on a magical journey in search of something wonderful.
As we uncover our path and move along it, not only do our dreams come true, but we get something even more valuable: spiritual awakening. Not intellectual awakening from the neck up, but something much more grounded and exciting.
You start to feel more awake and alive. You feel like you are a part of nature, and nature is living inside your body. In fact you start to feel like there is no separation between you and nature.
You also find a different kind of security – a kind that you didn’t even know existed: the security that comes from feeling that you belong in the world, you matter and you will be guided and taken care of.
In my view the Garden of Eden was not a geographical place – it was a state of consciousness. When people lived without the layers of conditioning that we now have, they experienced the world directly, as a part of nature. As a result life felt magical and wonderful. Our lives may be incredibly challenging and tumultuous at the moment, but we are the generations who have access to living in the Garden of Eden again.
Sapphira de la Terre practices EFT in a person-centered way, affording people the opportunity to unravel decades of old conditioning quickly and painlessly. She has been doing EFT for 15 years and running workshops for 5, using both EFT as well as ritual, image-making and conscious touch. She works 1-2-1 with people in Dartington. You can find out more about her work at Sapphira.com. For upcoming workshops see page .